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My Mother the Cheerleader

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  844 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews

Louise Collins was pretty certain that nothing all that exciting would happen in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she lived with her mother in their boarding house, Rooms on Desire. Every day was almost the same: serve cranky Mr. Landroux his meals in bed, visit Antoine's Pick-a-Chick with Charlotte, and wear out the pages of her favorite novels by reading them over a

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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by HarperTeen (first published April 24th 2007)
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Marilee
Nov 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
I didn't like this one. It's an important story that I didn't think was told particularly well. It was published by the Harper teen label, but I don't think it would work well for many teens. The narrator is a twelve year old girl, but there are also references to blacklisted communists and Joe McCarthy that would fly right over the heads of most of the 12 to 18 crowd. And the boozy, promiscuous mom, the redneck rapist who lynches the northern agitator, the salt of the earth black maid whose ang ...more
Melissa
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a young adult novel set in the 9th ward of New Orleans during the time of Ruby Bridges. The story is told by a young girl, Louise Collins, who is trying to make sense of why she can't go to school anymore and why people, especially her mom, are part of the protest. It is a very insightful story of the people and the mindset of the times. As Lynne Rae Perkins says, "It's so easy to look back at another time and place and say to each other,'what on earth were those people thinking?' but wh ...more
Cami Beath
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
My Mother the Cheerleader
By Robert Sharenow

This book is fantastic. One of my all-time favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and I couldn’t help but find similarities in this book. I especially loves the themes of belonging, love, family, forgiveness, and honesty. Louise’s relationship with her mother is heartbreaking and beautiful. My favortie part of the book was when she took her daughter’s hand as they walked away from the school. So good. This book has wonderful messages
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Jami
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Okay, never was their a more deceptive title for a book. I think whoever came up with it really should find a new line of work. This is not a story about a girl whose mother was a peppy little cheerleader in high school and tries to live out her dreams in her daughter's life, or something like that. Um, no. Instead, this historical fiction depicts the events of 1960 New Orleans when the 9th Ward elementary school was first integrated. Not exactly what you were envisioning when you read that titl ...more
Michelle
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book because its theme is you just might have to accept your reality even though it might be tough, and you might have to learn to deal with it. It's during the civil rights time period where Louise the protagonist develops her character to someone she learns how to be, being inspired by Morgan Miller that books in her moms hotel in New Orleans. To her he is attractive even though he is thirty years old and she's just twelve.
Sally Kruger
If you are looking for a slightly different view of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's, check out MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER by Robert Sharenow.

Louise lives with her mother in a New Orleans' boarding house. Louise's mother owns the boarding house and usually rents the few rooms to truckers passing through on their runs. Her mother can usually be found "entertaining" these men or else spending the long, hot southern afternoons drinking pitchers of lime juleps in the backyard.

Recently, school
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Beth
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults, Historical fiction
Recommended to Beth by: ALA YALSA Best Books 2008
Sharenow’s debut novel is tough to categorize in terms of intended audience. The book deals with some very mature themes (rape, domestic violence, racially motivated violence, child abandonment) but the protagonist, Louise Collins, is still quite young when the book takes place in 1960. Since the book is told in the present tense, it’s awkward on page 55 when Louise describes her mother has having “basked in the attention like she was strutting down the red carpet at the Academy Awards” as there ...more
Mara
Jul 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is not the book it could be. It is Young Adult but the mother, along with being an anti-integration cheerleader in the 9th ward nola, is a floozy alcoholic who owns a boarding house. One of the locals, an angry man, visits to manhandle and have sex with her regularly enough that the 13 yr old knows all about it. He appears at the 13 yr olds bedroom door undressed and threatens to join her in bed. He returns at a pivotal moment in the book with a drunk friend to beat and gang rape the mother ...more
Alyssa Peters
Alyssa Peters
Multicultural
This book is set in the south in New Orleans. The story is told from the main character Louise’s point of view. Louise is a thirteen-year old girl who lives with her mother and their housekeeper. A man named Morgan comes to stay with them. Louise’s mother works at a beauty shop. When she is not home, Louise just thinks she is at work. This is not the case all the time. Louise’s mom is a “cheerleader.” The “cheerleaders” are woman who are protesting at the school that L
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Hunter
May 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
The Book “My Mother The Cheerleader” by Robert Sharenow is not my favorite book. The book seems to take forever to get to the main story. I read almost 50 pages of the book and it wasn’t anything that the back of the book said. The only things that has happened in this book are, the girl thinks she's ugly, her mom doesn’t care about her, she was pulled out of school because there was a black girl, and there is a legless man that lives in the same building as them. And I personally find this book ...more
Emily
Jun 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Recommended to Emily by: Julie, Amy
Shelves: ya-fiction
I liked this book, I think I would have liked it a lot more if I hadn't just read Secret Life of Bee's which basically deals with all the same themes (mothers, racism, coming of age) in a more adult way. This is a great book for young adults. My favorite part was how real the main character seemed.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Sharenow, Robert My Mother the Cheerleader, 304 pgs. HarperTeen. Language-PG, Sexual Content-PG, Violence-PG,

Louise lives in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans with her mother, running a boarding house. When Ruby Bridges comes she is pulled out of school and her mother joins the crowd every day jeering at the girl. A man from New York comes and starts changing their lives as he tries to change his.

It had the perfect mix of historical fiction and fiction. I learned something while still having a goo
...more
Allison
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Requested this as I'm looking for books with New Orleans as a setting since the girls and I are headed there in May. Have mixed feelings now that I've finished it and still haven't decided whether or not to pass it on to E. I felt for the 13 year old main character. I appreciated the complexity the author seemed to be going for with making people who did horrible things during Ruby Bridge's integration year more human and how one thing/one person can make you reassess your beliefs. Walking away ...more
Jacob
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: yong-adoolt
Louise Collins is our young heroine. She lives in the mid-1900s with her immature mom in a boarding house that they run in New Orleans, and change is in the air: integration of blacks and whites in public schools has just been undertaken, and Louise's mother has joined the throng of women known as the Cheerleaders that gather each morning to yell at and threaten six-year-old Ruby Bridges, the only colored girl entering the school. This seems to be the natural balance of life until the Collins' b ...more
Amanda
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This book surprised me. I guess that is what I get for only reading the title and not the book jacket. Surprisingly, even with all of the interesting content surrounding Louise’s interest in a man two or three times her age and surrounding her mother’s sexual life, I still liked it. My Mother the Cheerleader presents an interesting perspective of the desegregation events in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 1960.

Lynne Rae Perkins said in her review of the book that “It’s easy to look back at ano
...more
Rachel
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
I was surprised by this book. It's not one that I would've picked up on my own, but I'm glad it was assigned for our class.
With segregation being such a hot topic in our nations history, it was nice to read a book written from a child's perspective. Her naivety is refreshing, because, while Louise expresses that she knows it is wrong in the end, she is somewhat undecided throughout the majority of the book. I loved her little "spy" adventures because they almost reminded me of myself when I was
...more
Aaron
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it


Louise Collins is a thirteen-year-old girl living in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 1960. The local school, William J. Frantz Elementary, is facing its first trial with intergration as a 6-year-old girl named Ruby Bridges is escorted everyday to class by FBI agents.

The parents in the neifhborhood are so concerned that they have all pulled their children out of the school to boycott it. As a result Ruby is the only students. A number of the mothers have formed a small group that gets together e
...more
Sharon
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sharon by: Booklist Starred Review
Shelves: young-adult
Spoiler alert.
I wanted to like this book.
The premise sounded interesting--show the civil rights era through the eyes of one young girl whose mother is a "cheerleader" (AKA: one of the women who lined up daily to jeer and scream racist insults at Ruby Bridges, the first-grader who walked through the doors of a New Orleans school and into the pages of history).

The author tried a bit too hard, however--bringing in far too many elements. The narrator, a 13-year-old girl, struggles to make sense of
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Andrea Stoddard
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-430
The reason I choose this book, was the perspective of the main character. I thought it would be interesting to see the segregation and treatment of Ruby bridges from a white girl who's mother supported segregation. I feel like we so often only get to see things from the activist side. I'm not saying that segregation was right or I support any view against civil rights but so many movies and literature take the characters of the time and make them black and white. (I recognize the poor pun and i ...more
Patty
Louise lives with her mother in a boarding house of sorts in 1960s Louisiana. Her school is integrated by Ruby Bridges. Racism is so entrenched that families pull out of the school. A group of cheerleaders (mothers of students) and assorted other citizens boycott outside of the school each morning and jeer Ruby as she enters the building. Louise spends her time working in the boarding house, spying on others in assorted spots, and writing in her spy journal. Her life is further interrupted by Mo ...more
Chrissie
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-356
I was not expecting this book to be about what it was about. I took it at face value because of the title. However, it is not about rah-rah type cheerleaders, like I assumed. It is about the "cheerleaders" that stood out, shouting in protest against civil rights movements. The movements detailed in this story are those at the William Frantz Elementary School. Louise Collins's mother is one of the cheerleaders that has taken her child out of school and protests as the six year-old Ruby Bridges wa ...more
Stephanie
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book is pretty well written. At some points I wanted to shake the characters and say "Hello! Can't you see that integration is a GOOD thing? What if you were in the other person's shoes?" This book was rather annoying. The mom treated her daughter like a hired hand and was very selfish and was a liar. This fact made me wonder if Louise is also a liar, being raised by one which led me to wonder if she's a reliable narrator or not. This thought popped into my head not even halfway through the ...more
Anna
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Recommended to Anna by: Denni Kay Scates
Teens may be misled into thinking that My Mother the Cheerleader is comedic, but its opening belies the title of this compelling novel:

My mother was a Cheerleader, but not the type of cheerleader you’re probably thinking of. She didn’t become a Cheerleader until she was thirty-six years old. Sometimes her cheers came out so full of foul language that the newspapers couldn’t even print the words….

Louise Collins is a thirteen year old girl, living the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 1960 and attendi
...more
Chloe Sanders
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-356-5-8-2012
I really liked this book. Even though the main character, Louise, was just a little girl, I felt I could really relate what she was going through. At the beginning of the book, I kind of hated her mother, and thought she was a jerk who didn't care about her daughter. I found myself hating the cheerleaders, not only for the horrible things they were doing/saying to Ruby Bridges, but also because I felt like they were just protesting every day to have something to do. This book brought up feelings ...more
Karen
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this one down -- a very well-written historical fiction book by the same author as the excellent The Berlin Boxing Club. It's set in New Orleans during 1960 and focuses on the intense conflicts over school integration. The young narrator's mother is a "Cheerleader" - one of a group of women who were fiercely opposed to integration and gathered each morning at the local elementary school to taunt and jeer 6-year-old Ruby Bridges as she entered the building. This is a fascinating -- ...more
Cory Hernandez
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-eng-356
My Mother the Cheerleader is a wonderful historical fiction piece that addresses issues with family, self, racism, and sex. The main character in the book, Louise Collins, is a shy thirteen-year-old that shows incredible courage as she stands up to people much more powerful than herself. Her mother, a "Cheerleader", goes to her elementary school so she can heckle Ruby Bridges, a young black girl going to an integrated school. Louise tells her side of the story and what it's like to have a mother ...more
Amanda Peterson
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-356
What a great book! It is about a girl, Louise, whose mother is a cheerleader-a group of women who hate integration and are taunting this little girl Ruby. This book takes you on a journey of what it would be like to live in the ninth-ward in New Orleans in the 1950's. This books is from the white person;s perspective, which is quite different, and it helps you understand why people dis-liked integration so much. I didn't give this book a five, because it was slow to start, and then got interesti ...more
Jessica
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
I liked it for the skill with which it was written, and the importance of it's message, but didn't like it, at the same time. I know the author wasn't condoning wrong things- his message was the opposite, but I hated having this feeling of, "This is so wrong! This has to be resolved! Somebody do something!" while reading it. I also didn't like that parts of it had a "harriet the spy" kind of feel, but much less light-hearted. It kind of ruined Harriet the Spy for me. I guess it's good for adoles ...more
Karen Ball
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction, 8th grade -- some sections of more mature content. Set in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the story follows Louise and her mother, Pauline, who operate a boarding house during the time of desegregation. Far from being a positive rah-rah kind of cheerleader, Pauline is one of a group of racist women who protest the integration of their local elementary school every morning. They are a nasty, vicious group who think nothing of throwing food and insults at Ruby Bridges, who is on ...more
Louisa George
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was very well written and I thought wonderfully crafted. I may be a bit biased because I am a Steinbeck fan, but I loved how the author based the book on a response to Steinbeck's observations in "Travels With Charlie" and showed respect to Steinbeck's claims as well as presenting a new point of view. I thought the characters and scenarios in the story were detailed and fascinating. I loved the inner conflict of the main protagonist Louise and thought that the perspectives of the chara ...more
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Robert Sharenow is an award-winning writer and television producer. His first novel, My Mother the Cheerleader, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.

He is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer and serves as senior vice preside
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More about Robert Sharenow...

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